How to build a trotline jump box. I have built many of these boxes over the years and this style suits my fishing method the best. It is basically a wooden box about 2ft x 1.5ft square. It has slots around the perimeter sawed in to hold the hooks evenly spaced. I attached a safety lanyard that I can clip to the boat to keep the gear from being pulled overboard in case I snag something in the water. The box has holes in the bottom that allows me to dip the gear in the water to soak the line for easier deployment. These holes also allow the line to dry out during storage to help prevent line rot. The rig is varnished for protection although paint could be used as well.
To use the box, I soak the line for a few minutes and pre-bait the hooks and get the boat into position. To deploy the line, I hook the end with the small white float to the anchor block and float. I then slowly back the boat in reverse using my trolling motor and working at the bow of the boat I ease the line and hooks with the bait into the water. The box allows for tangle free deployment as the hooks pop out of the slots and into the water. When I am at the end of the trotline, I clip it to the other anchor block and float and I am now fishing. The whole process allows me to deploy a 25 hook trotline in about 5 minutes working alone.
When it is time to retrieve the line, the process just goes into reverse, and the line is folded and stored in the box along with placing the hooks in their slots and I am ready to fish again the next trip. This method is easy, and allows me to work alone safely. It also allows me to easily store my trotlines in the boat. I have seen jump boxes made from 5 gallon plastic buckets, but I find that using a wooden box like this adds a little more weight and mass and does not tip over or get tangled as easy as a bucket will.
Try building your own jump box and you will see how easily they work and you’ll find that it’s a lot less work and safer also!